How you can help Georgia’s gays in 10 minutes

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image Georgia Equality, like any cash-strapped LGBT non-profit – and these days, aren’t they all? – asks for your money to support its do-good work. This time, though, they are asking for just a few minutes of your day, and there’s no cover charge. The group is partnering with the Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative and the Rush Center, which houses the two among other LGBT groups, to conduct a comprehensive survey of all the gays that make up our queer village in Georgia. And we’re not just talking the party boys of Joining Hearts or TakeOver Atlanta, or even those that spend your equality evenings with Georgia Equality or party in your garden with ALHI. But all of you gays that live in your same-sex households in the suburbs and yes, even you mountain gays. We know you’re in every corner of the state, and Georgia Equality and ALHI want you to take part in this research effort. Thanks to a $35,000 grant from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, the groups – led by Linda Ellis (photo left), ALHI’s executive director, and Jeff Graham (photo right), Georgia Equality’s executive director -- are in the midst of a strategic planning process that will help define whether the Rush Center should grow into a full-service LGBT community center or if the needs of metro Atlanta’s gay and lesbian population demand something else. The current lease on the Rush Center ends in July 2013, and its leaders say they want to know well before then in what direction to move the facility. But it’s more than that. The grant, in part through the survey, will chart the needs and expectations of Georgia’s LGBT residents. In other words, not only will the Rush Center gain insights, but so will the seven groups that call it home, as well as others interested in reaching out to the gays. What else do you need to know? Here’s where you can take the survey. It’ll cost you about 10 minutes. Once completed, share the link with friends. You’ll be quizzed about your background, religious beliefs, the inclusiveness of your church and how far you might travel for Pride, a gay film festival or community center. There’s a quiz to gauge your knowledge of state law as it relates to LGBT issues – do you know if LGBT people are included under state hate crimes laws? – and a question to focus you on the three most important gay-focused services that a non-profit can offer. The survey is confidential, and its organizers call it critically important. Our favorite – and we’re looking forward to seeing how this shakes out in the results – is the question that asks you to pick the five most important issues facing the state’s queer community. You get to pick from this list: Ensuring schools are safe for LGBT youth Additional social/cultural/recreational activities or more community-wide events and celebrations Access to LGBT-welcoming health care Access to LGBT-welcoming mental health services Substance abuse treatment and prevention targeted at LGBT community Increased support and services for LGBT elders Ensuring parents have information on supporting LGBT youth Increasing services for people living with HIV/AIDS Safe spaces to congregate and build a support network Expanded rights/recognition of LGBT families (such as civil unions or marriage) Expanded civil rights protections (including hate crimes, work place discrimination) Greater LGBT visibility in media (including visual, radio, print media) Greater emphasis on electing openly LGBT public officials Increased acceptance within faith-based communities Need one more pitch to take the nearly 100-question survey? Here’s one directly from the folks at the Rush Center:

By sharing your experiences, you will help shape the knowledge that policymakers and the public at large have on our community. By collecting information on LGBT Georgian's throughout the state, we will be better able to plan services, programs and engage in advocacy that will help us all. We will be sharing the findings with LGBT organizations throughout Georgia to help them in their own program planning and fundraising efforts.
So get to clicking.


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